Reflections #10

Another day in the two week quest to see what I’m thinking. I haven’t decided if my thoughts are racing so fast I can’t tell what I’m thinking, or that I have so few thoughts that I don’t have anything I’m thinking about. If the latter it’s the first time possibly ever! When I stop to try to form a thought, there is a song going through my head at any given time. Just a couple lines, of course, just to give me an earworm. But not much else. I listen, and the thoughts are non-existent or racing so fast I can’t tell what they are doing. I’m almost thinking they are non-existent.

I saw my psychiatrist today just to get refills. I would have waited to see the new one except that I would need refills before I saw him. So I gritted my teeth and bore it. I just don’t get that she sympathizes with me at all. And I need someone who is compassionate at the very least. I don’t get that from her. Oh well. I tried. On to the next one!

I’m doing well with exercising 5x/week, half hour at a time. I vary what I’m doing between the pool, the treadmill and the recumbent exercise bike. I’m not getting in any strength training though. I could use the fitness center, but I’m doing things with the least amount of fuss possible. I’m going to the pool which takes more fuss than it’s worth, including that I have to wait until at least 6:15 to go so the sun is lower. By then the pool is bath water, which feels gross. Pool water should be a little cool when you get in…

People have been giving me suggestions for churches in my denomination to try. I appreciate the leads! Based on the websites and the distance I don’t think they are good fits though. There’s something about staying in my area so I can do things with a local emphasis. I could try the church near me again. It’s website makes me think it’s a different spirituality than I have. Torn again between two spiritualities.

Reflections #9

Welp. I forgot to blog yesterday. But it’s a new day, and I’m blogging to see in print what I’m thinking. My thoughts are racing so much that I don’t know what I’m thinking – still. It’s been weeks. I went from thinking nothing when I was severely depressed to thinking way, way too much now that my mood is so much better – happy even. Mood is still stable at happy. My emotions are fluctuating normally, a little higher, a little lower, all in response to stimuli and less based on how my mood is.

Today I’m feeling down or bored or reflective. It’s a Sunday and that makes me more reflective. In church today it felt like too many words and too much non-helpful music. The silence was nice, though my thoughts tried to drown out the sound of silence. (Cue earworm…) I tried to stay in the moment during the silence, and even during the words. Mindfulness in the moment. Only the silence felt right, though I get enough alone time at home. Intentional silence in community is different. I don’t feel alone. I feel surrounded by others’ thoughts and bodies. I can find that place of stillness in the communal silence. Even today with racing thoughts I found it for maybe 10 seconds, but it was delicious! Maybe I should try more meditation and find the stillness when I’m alone too. Usually I find the stillness more when I’m in a group of people though.

Yesterday I did some volunteering for a local politician’s campaign. It was a phone bank training followed by some calling. I didn’t realize there would be calling in a group, and I didn’t feel in the right space to do that. So I went home and thought I’d do some calling, but I haven’t yet. I did meet some good people though. Baby steps?

I’m feeling lonely today. I wish I had more friends – ok, any friends – to hang out with here. I have people I see at church, and people I see at NAMI, and people I interact with on Facebook. I don’t have people to hang out with. I’m hoping with some engagement in political things I’ll develop some relationships. And I hope that will happen also with volunteering at other places. I’d like to get out of the house more too. Although I’m liking my room better, I can still feel isolated.

I just didn’t feel up to making art today. I think it went with feeling lonely. I didn’t think I could be more introspective than I was already with church. I guess. Maybe the directive for art therapy was not on point today, and I didn’t feel like coloring.

I talked with someone at church today about how I feel caught in between loyalties. I’m a minister in one denomination and attending a church of a very different denomination. Even though I feel at home with the new worship and focus on different kinds of spirituality, I still feel a call from my home denomination. I don’t know if I should be going to both, or pick one. I don’t feel totally comfortable in the new one, I think because of feeling torn. I don’t feel totally comfortable in the home denomination because it’s so far behind where I am spiritually in most of the congregations. And this is Texas. Do you think I’d be able to find a liberal church in my denomination? I’m guessing no. But I may be underestimating my home denomination.

Reflections #8

Day 8 in the two weeks of seeing what I’m thinking. Thoughts are still racing, check. Mood is still stable, check. Yep, status quo.

There was an incident last night with the cats. My cat and one of my parents’ cats got into a tussle again. After they stopped, and I was positioned to keep them apart, my mom says maybe it’s time for Charmer to go to bed. Which is a not subtle hint that he needs to be in my room now. So I just went up with him without saying goodnight. I know when we’re not wanted. Even if Charmer didn’t start it, he’s to blame. My dad hates him. He’s just young, and still wants to play. They are old and don’t want to play. They are fighting back now, and Charmer keeps his distance from the one that will fight back. But I know that we’re not wanted.

I was able to read non-fiction last night! Even with racing thoughts. I was scanning, but was able to slow it down enough, and reread enough, that I was able to comprehend most of what I was reading. It’s historical political science, not my usual fare. It’s interesting though.

I finally called the Democratic party office in my county, and got some leads on volunteering with a couple candidates and some computer stuff I could do with their office. Finally a place to volunteer! I hope the others get back to me, and I hope I can balance and juggle all three places to some extent. Staying focused is hard. Concentration and comprehension are hard. Everything feels stressful. I haven’t been able to hold a part-time job for very long, and a volunteer job for even less time each time I tried. These have lead to feeling a failure. I keep trying though.

Did some art therapy again. I’m getting better at incorporating art in my life right now. I feel good about that. This art therapy exercise was to look back on the last 24 hours and notice the highlights. As you drew or wrote about them, notice what you felt about them then, and what you feel about it now. I’m still bent out of shape about how my cat is treated…

Still watching The Handmaid’s Tale and I’ve started watching Queer Eye. Each has a very different view of the world right now. One is very dystopian and speaks to what is slowly, or not so slowly, happening in our country. The other is optimistic that change is possible, starting one person at a time, and affecting those closest to you with your new confident perspective. Setting them against each other is interesting. One is communitarian; one is individualistic. I suppose I see the situation that I need to keep a wide vision of what the community and nation can be, with local and individual choices to be made with that in mind. That’s probably stretching it. That’s how I’m resolving the tension anyway. It speaks to my political involvement this year too. I have taken to heart, also, that it is privilege that lets someone think they can opt out of politics. Plus, we can’t make it better by holding ourselves above it. We must hold a view that a rising body of water holds all boats aloft. I can’t rise unless we all rise. It’s rare to find this view, at least around here. I’ve got some leads though!

Reflections #7

Another day of seeing what I’m thinking because my thoughts are racing so fast I don’t know what thoughts I’m having.

I did some art therapy today. It was a self-evaluation exercise to see what place I am in my life right now. I did some doodling, then wrote a little: “This period began with a move. That transition is now over. It’s a time now of transition and change. What kind of person do I want to be? I’ve lost independence and I’m trying to gain some through activities. Each day revolves around family, and I want it to revolve around me. It’s a time of transition and change. Or I could slump. I don’t want to slump. I want to stay vibrant, like the primary colors of blue and yellow. My mood is finally stable, and elevated. Two hospitalizations later. But I was showing self-compassion by going.”

I’m not sure what I gained by doing the exercise. Just some self-reflection, which I’m trying to do on my blog anyway. I guess the takeaway was asking the question of what kind of person I want to be, and that I don’t want to slump, that I’d prefer to be vibrant. I’m at a point where I could go either direction. I would prefer to stay active. I need to be active. I’m not ready to be a retired person. Hence, volunteering. I could really use some volunteering this week when I don’t have much going on. I need some things to do, to live for.

I wish the cat rescue I volunteered for in Illinois had an office here, or that I could find a similar rescue. I visited the one I would consider volunteering for, but I didn’t like it very much. I wasn’t feeling the passion that I did at the previous rescue. I don’t want to just scoop boxes either. I’d like to be an adoption counselor/screener which I was just learning to do when I left the state.

So this is the end of my first week of blogging every day to try to see what my thoughts are. I’m not sure I’ve learned what they are, other than that I can put a few sentences together on a topic if I write it out. I’m not able to do that speaking right now. Mumbled answers feels about it. I’ve got jingles and songs in my head, lines from shows, vague thoughts about sensations in my body, circling thoughts about stimuli I see or hear in the environment, grinding teeth going on (a new symptom that started after I began a new med a month ago). I can’t even read articles and like things on Facebook. It’s too much to think about. I have been able to scan instead of read. I finished an easy book. I have a harder one I want to read. Not sure just scanning it will work though. I wonder if I can read it.


Reflections #6

Another day of seeing what I’m thinking. Join me for random thoughts.

Mood is still stable today, and thoughts are still racing so fast that I can’t tell what I’m thinking. I wish writing everyday would slow them down, but that’s not the point of writing everyday. The point is to see what I’m thinking over a two-week period until I see my therapist again. My thoughts slow a little bit to eke out a paragraph. But I’m jumping to the next thing in my mind.

Got a few art pieces and a picture collage put up in my room today. Brings some color into the room and makes it more lived in. Yay! I’m spending more time in my room these days. It’s nice to have a retreat where I can stream shows and maybe make some art, and be surrounded by things that remind me of home. Cuz I’m still not totally at home here. But it’s coming??

I started the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale. This is all stuff that’s not in the book, and I’m checking to see if they are true to the book’s story. There were inconsistencies in the first season, though it kept to the book most of the time. Good couple of episodes so far, filling in back story and moving June’s story along. I will have to switch over to netflix soon when House of Cards drops its last season. Sad to see it go – such an intelligent binge-worthy show. I hear that Queer Eye on netflix is really good too. So maybe a break from the handmaid for a while? Or mix it up when I need a change.

I’m almost done with Jurassic Park, the book. My brother gave it to me. Interesting and fast-paced read. Easy to read too. I’m still saddened by my inability to comprehend more complicated reading, such as any non-fiction. The inability started when I was first diagnosed with bipolar. My psychiatrist and therapist said my ability to read would come back. It’s been almost 8 years…

I decided to wear red today. I debated doing anything patriotic at all. I’m upset with what’s being done in our names by a small group of appointed people. It’s hard to say “elected” when so few vote to begin with. A friend posted that they are post-national, have no loyalty or allegiance to a particular country. I can agree with him. If I could live alone, I just might move to another country, one with good healthcare, to be sure.

I hate eating dinner so early with my parents. When I start cooking on my own, I’ll eat at a more decent hour. 5pm is just short enough from lunch not to warrant a snack in the afternoon, and too early to eat since I need a snack in the evening so I can take my meds that need food. But I could save some more calories if I ate dinner at a normal time and took my meds with it. Unless I start cooking for myself though, I can rewarm a plate later, which I did for a while, or I can eat at 5 and need a snack later. I clean the kitchen after dinner, which I wouldn’t have to do if I ate later. Just clean up after myself. It’s a hassle not to be able to use the kitchen or pots or utensils until family is out of there. I heard from my brother – who owns the house – that he has given up on being able to use the kitchen because he is always in the way or something. Basically my mom owns the kitchen and we all borrow from her. Time and equipment. I wish I had my own kitchen. Not that I like cooking, mind you. But I could do what I need to do when I need to do it.

Reflections #5

Another day of trying to blog to see what I’m thinking through severe racing thoughts. It’s hard to write when I don’t have much gnawing at me to write about.

I became dizzy again on the new treadmill. I usually haven’t been able to use treadmills because I get dizzy on them. The one my family had until recently was the first one where I didn’t get dizzy. It was a minor miracle! It broke though, and my brother decided to replace it. Now I’m having trouble with dizziness on it. Grrr. There is my recumbent exercise bike I can use. I like to vary my workouts though, and having the option of the treadmill was good. I hope some modifications to what I do or how long will help me keep using it.

Much alone time today. It was kinda nice, but not something to do everyday. I need interaction with people. I did get to watch some old favorites on tv that I haven’t seen in a while.

I got my files put away in the new file bins. The only ones that didn’t fit were all the medical receipts I have to keep for tax purposes. They are in a box in the closet now. A good place for them, if not taken back to storage. Again, I feel more at home having my things in the room and accessible.

My tongue is still pushing forward on my teeth, not all the time, but I catch myself doing it and then correct it. Technically I should call my psychiatrist about it as it could be a serious side effect to medication. I really don’t want to have her take me off the new antidepressant though. I think it’s the new anti-convulsant that is used as a mood stabilizer.

My mood was stable again today. An introvert day can be helpful for me. I need an extrovert day or two now… I’m a bit of both. I get my energy from being around people, and I need significant alone time to recharge.

Reflections #4

Another day of trying to see what I’m thinking. It’s hard to piece thoughts together. I’ve got brain fog from so many thoughts swirling through my brain.

Went on some errands with mom today. At least I got out of the house. That’s what errands are for, I guess.

Typing on the computer, I automatically use touch typing with the qwerty keyboard that I learned in high school. I don’t even think about or look at what my fingers are doing. Then, when I blog from my phone, my index finger just knows the abc alphabet now. Either way my brain slows down a little. But I spell words in my head on the abc keyboard.

I’m liking my rearranged room better than I thought. I think I just like my desk being in here and the treadmill in a different room. And my closet only has my stuff in it. Not a hope chest, tons of Christmas stuff, AND my stuff. So I’m feeling more at home.

Still waiting to hear from Refugee Services of Texas and from NAMI about their next training for facilitators. It would be nice to have more to do. It’s like all I’m doing is waiting for the next thing to drive my mom to, or for an appointment with my therapist. I need more activities in my life. Besides working out for a half hour a day. Each day I’m just waiting for meals. No way to live. I’m not really living if all I’m doing is waiting. I need more friends too. Not sure how to do that when everyone works and/or has kids. Plus I only know a handful of people. I wish I had an interesting job. I wish I could hold a job. Sigh. I haven’t been able to hold a volunteer job even. Double sigh. This bipolar crap sucks.

My mood has been stable today. That’s good. I guess it doesn’t need a judgment word like “good.” It just is. Just like on days when it is unstable or low, it’s not “bad,” it just is. I have learned to think of specific ways to describe my mood – stable or unstable, depressed or hypomanic, in the middle with variations according to feelings in the moment. All of these I use instead of “good” or “bad” moods. Take the judgment out of terms used to describe. There is no moral value to my moods. They are just what they are. I’ve learned descriptors.

You can tell by reading this that my thoughts are bland and more scattered today. I suppose that’s what my thoughts have been like on other days, yet they coalesced around a few topics more than today’s have. You can see why I don’t blog everyday. I don’t have much of interest to talk about unless I have a topic, an event, or a mood that has stuck out or needs to be processed. I have a greater facility with words for sorting life out, than using numbers (like sudoko?) or using art therapy things. I do have a long list of art therapy activities to draw on. It’s time to pull them out and see what my thoughts do in the art world.